To start 30 Days Wild I did something that I haven’t done in years – pond dipping!
Today was the day that the Wildlife Trust BCN Youth Rangers were coming to Houghton Regis Chalk Pit to do some invasive species control and learn about butterfly transects. When I saw the weather forecast I quickly realised butterflies would not be out to play and needed a plan B. Pond dipping was the perfect solution.
After a little bit of ragwort pulling and a quick hot chocolate to warm ourselves back up after the drizzle we grabbed the nets and headed to the pond. I had very few records of what lived in the ponds so the aim was to try and identify as much as possible so I could add it to the species list for the reserve (well that’s the official reason -mostly I just wanted to play in the pond :P)
The Youth Rangers didn’t hesitate to get stuck in. We had some trays to examine our finds and id charts to help us identify what we caught in the nets. Our haul included Smooth Newts, Water Boatmen, Water Fleas and some Damselfly nymphs.
It was great to see everyone getting involved with the activity and I loved having the chance to do something I haven’t done for years. The array of creatures that can be found in the water is amazing from the normal (but still amazing) newts to the crazy alien looking Water Boatmen. There is always some marvel of nature to wonder at if you just take the time to look.
I also hugely enjoyed filling in the first space on my wall chart! One down another 29 to go!